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2004 Pontiac Vibe brake pads

Im looking to replace my brake pads after 56,000 miles on the same brake pads and rotors. I am wondering what the difference between semi-metallic and ceramic pads are? O’Reilly Auto Parts says the semi-metallic is original equipment for my car and its recommended…Im just wondering what the difference is between these type of pads. Thanks!

I would stick with OEM.  They are almost always best for general use.  If you have some unique needs, like week end racing, or you want really long life and don't care about noises or brake pad dust on your wheels etc. then consider changing.

I’d stick with the semi-metallic pads that were originally on the car. If the Toyota engineers wanted ceramic pads they’d have specified them when the car was built. Ceramic pads might chew up the rotors faster than the standard pads.

Stay with the semi-metallic pads. The ceramic brake pads are for extremely high heat applications. My personal observation over the years is that most people do not like the ceramic brakes once they have them installed. Most day to day drivers come with semi-metallic brakes so I believe they are the best.

I have heard bad things about ceramics - but then they’re increasingly out there b/c they presumably have all sorts of benefits. E.g. -

I have been running semi-metallics but just recently did my brakes with ceramics. They were listed by NAPA as OEM pads (even though I’m pretty sure the OEM is semi-metallic).

I haven’t had them on that long, but I’m not unhappy at all. I look forward to less brake dust (or at least less appearance of such). They are quiet and give a smooth and comfortable stop. I’ve only got all of 500 miles on them tho.

If you do get ceramics get new rotors to go with them. Rotors these days are so thin that you don’t really want to keep or turn your old ones anyway.

If you got 56 k out of what you have, why would you consider using anything else? That is exceptional life. You shouldn’t bother turning the rotors anymore. Just replace at each brake job.